Discover the Mystery and Magic of the Vanilla Bean, the World’s Second Most Expensive Spice
When most people think of farm tours on the Island of Hawaiʻi, coffee crops and mac nut trees usually come to mind. However, tucked away in the hills above the town of Paʻauilo on the Hāmākua Coast, lies the Hawaiian Vanilla Company, a charming family run vanilla farm. Specializing in the growing of vanilla producing orchids, they also serve delicious lunches and afternoon teas all prepared with their own vanilla.
Lunch, Tea and Farm Tours
Founded in 1998 by the Reddekopp family, the company has grown into a successful and unique business now being managed by the second generation of Reddekopps. Curious visitors and locals flock to the lovely farm for a delicious lunch or tea where vanilla is the main attraction and star of the menu. Entertaining and educational tours of the property are offered to guests who would like to learn more about how the fickle bean is produced.
The Origins of Vanilla
Derived from an orchid, it is believed vanilla originated more than 1,000 years ago by tribal societies in Mexico who believed the bean to hold magical powers. Because of its temperamental nature, vanilla is the world’s second most expensive legally grown commercial crop, second only to Saffron.
The most labor-intensive crop in the world, vanilla will only grow within 25 degrees north or south of the equator and will bloom only one day out of the year. It must be pollinated by hand on that one day if a bean is to be born. It can take up to five years to produce just that one bean, making vanilla production a clear a labor of love.
After enjoying the vanilla infused lunch and farm tour, guests can stroll through the quaint gift shop and peruse the variety of vanilla based products such as chutneys, salad dressings,
lip gloss, body scrubs, lotions, spice rubs and more. All the products are made with vanilla grown right there on site.
Reservations are required if you would like to visit Hawaiian Vanilla Company for lunch or tea, as most days are sold out. After an afternoon at the farm, you’ll gain a new appreciation of this
tasty spice and never look at vanilla the same way again.
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